Interaction Design

Visual Design


PopCap Games

Time Frame

9 weeks



Product Click-through

Interaction Flow

Presentation and Pitch


Mai Bouchet

Chelsea Braun

Ponder is an application that would be used in conjunction with a therapist or grief counselor in order to externalize and memorialize the memories of your loved one.


Our team collaborated with a sponsor from PopCap games to create a mobile game, or gamified application that would elicit behavior change. We ultimately created a concept for an application that would assist with the process of grief using gamification techniques while still remaining sensitive to the user’s experience.

We originally started with the concept of self-reflection and aimed to create a product that would facilitate with the process of externalizing and documenting these reflective moments. The further we dove into the process, the more we realized that we would have to narrow down the type of self-reflection much further. By focusing on the grieving process, we could target a very specific user group and type of self-reflection.


  • Create a mobile application that elicits behavior change
  • Focus on the greiving process and how we may be able to support individuals through the process


We conducted research both on gamification and qualities that make a game, as well as in theories behind behavior change. By supporting our design decisions with this information, we were better able to create a product that would be useful instead of just utilizing game design techniques in order to get users addicted.


  • Avoid addiction forming techniques and the rewarding of negative behaviors
  • Remain sensitive to the situation of the user

Ideation and Refinement

Several concepts came to mind as we worked through this problem. We broadened and narrowed our concepts using a variety of design thinking methods and frameworks, such as ideation methods and two by two matrices and a loose form of affinity diagramming. Eventually we landed on three basic concepts that we wished to pursue and receive feedback on:

Exploratory/Landscape As Self

Resource Collecting

Sketches by Mai Bouchet

Quest-based, Narrative Plot

Sketches by Chelsea Braun



  • Understand high level interaction flow
  • Create a way to visualize and communicate a use case easily

At this point we needed to iron out the details of how this would actually work in practice. After assessing the different steps of the process, we created a storyboard to illustrate the scenario, and a complete interaction flow to create a step by step depiction of the entire process, as well as how the application would integrate into that process.

Experience Map


  • Use an Empathy Sketch to better understand our user and their goals
  • Create an experience map that encompasses the entire experience, both on and off screen
  • Consider the user journey for both therapist and patient

This experience map came about after a very in depth discussion about what types of users would be using our product, informed by the secondary research we had conducted. Using this information, we came up with a theoretical narrative to drive our design decisions and supported all of the steps by tying it back to what our hypothetical user would need.

Original Sketch

We initially sketched this by hand for speed and better description of what we were thinking. Working with pen and paper allowed us to feel less tied to one specific flow and made us more willing to throw away what wasn't working.


Wireframes executed by Mai Bouchet


  • Understand UI before getting into high fidelity prototyping
  • Consider alternative interactions that balance affordance, novelty, and engagement
  • Create a structure that can be refines during the high fidelity UI stage

Creating wireframes was the focus of our next step. This enabled us to focus in on specific interaction points and work out different types of interactions that we could include, and what sort of design paradigms we wanted to use.

Final Prototype


  • Express Totem concept in a succinct and clear way
  • Visualize interactions

Finally we created a video prototype (available at the top of the page, and also here) to tell the story of not only how Totem works, but why it matters.

Introduction/Landing Page

Users set goals to accomplish with their therapists every week. Each day, users select a task to complete.

After the task is complete, users will be prompted to fill out a reflection about the day and the activity.

If a user completes a reflection, they receive an item which will populate their world.



  • Opportunity to user test and iterate
  • Opportunity to speak with primary users
  • Exploration of what happens when the process is "done"

This project was far from perfect, however there were a few key takeways that we learned from this expedited process. If we had more time, I think we would have liked to do some user testing before and after creating our prototype. We also thought that if we have narrowed our topic area and scoped more quickly, we may have had some more time to do some primary research instead of just secondary research.

100+ concepts while ideating and iterating

50% more productive when I'm not hungry

2000 hours in the studio (well, sometimes it just feels like it)

Sometimes 1 thought brings it all together